Is there a mental health problem? What Australian data reveals about the role of Covid locks | Health

Some politicians and commentators are calling for locks to end to prevent a mental health crisis, but it is unclear what the actual effect will be.

Experts with the Australian Guardian say calls for an end to locks are facing long-term mental health conditions, and the fact that eating cases resulting from unlocking will not be great for mental health either.

We turned into several databases to get a clear picture of the effect of locks on mental health.

Impact on services

The Covid pandemic has seen huge increases in contacts with support groups such as Beyond Blue and Line Help Kids. Data shared by NSW Health also show an increase in the number of self-inflicted injuries of children in emergency departments during the pandemic. Locks also appear to be associated with the even greater use of these support services, and mental health services have been signed by the Health Plan.

Using mental health services

The Australian Guardian compiled data on more than 500 mental health items on the Health Insurance Plan, and found that consumption tends to be roughly rough around the country over time. However, there is a significant peak in the use of mental health services in Victoria around the extended 2020 lockout period. This does not apply in other states.

The Australian School of Public Health and Welfare noted short-term increases in the use of mental health services around locks. Some recent additions also come to the Health Insurance Scheme, such as an increase in the number of telephone services.

But the effect appears to be short-lived. Australian University Professor Philip Batterham also said that data on the use of mental health services did not show any real symptoms, because “most people with mental health problems do not seek help or seek help. in a short time ”.

Batterham and his colleagues began training the effects of the pandemic on mental health in March last year.

“We thought the levels of anxiety and depression were already high by that time, but we saw some increase in symptoms until mid-April, followed by a slight decrease after that,” Batterham said.

The debate debate

The trend for some mental health indicators began a decade ago. Some degrees are defective as most people do not seek help for mental health symptoms, and others, such as suicide, have declined during the pandemic.

“The whole discussion is going awry, and mental health is not on one side. And big effects are not just a lock, ”University of Sydney Professor Ian Hickie told the Guardian Australia.

“We have a serious problem before-Covid, and Covid’s situation worsens to all of those factors in particular… For some people [lockdowns] are the lines that break the camel’s back, but the disruptions to society are enormous and long lasting. ”

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While all researchers with the Clinic agree that the pandemic has a significant impact on mental health, and even more locks, they have difficulty finding complete data.

“We are still trying to get the Victorian government to show up in the release of the data. The New South Wales government is out of its way not to release your data, ”Hickie said.

Self-mutilation in Victoria by month

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist from Wollongong University, also points out that many analysts of the mental health effects of locks fail to think that surgery in patients may be worse.

“The truth is rarely as simple as binary information makes it,” Meyerowitz-Katz said.

“What we normally see is that — locks can damage mental health to some degree, but they are not associated with any increase in suicide, and they also prevent the Covid-19 epidemic that causes even mental health damage. ”


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Data from the Victorian Court of Appeals and Health NSW confirm their availability, with suicides reduced during several months of closure more than in previous years. But here again the data is noise and power times, meaning comparisons are not easy.

The number of suicides may also be affected by recent government policy. Hickie and his team exemplified that worker, in combination with other financial reasons such as deposit support, possibly saving as many as 500 lives during the pandemic.

Suicide in New South Wales by month

Hickie says the impact of the pandemic on mental health has come from the sharing of social and independent connections.

“When you look at something like mental health you will see figures in NSW and South Australia and in Western Australia that look like figures in Victoria.

“You can model this and you would expect to see a small but significant increase in mental health as a result of the Victorian lock.”

This effect is reflected in an ongoing study of 1,200 Australians by researchers at the University of Melbourne. The survey included a question on whether respondents had experienced depression or anxiety in recent weeks.

Feelings of depression have been relatively stable

Professor Guay Lim from the University of Melbourne notes that state numbers by state can be very confusing. The data appear to indicate locks associated with reductions in people reporting no depression, and an increase in depressive traffic for some or all of the time.

However, the effect appears for a short time and is not isolated to a specific area.

“Of course we see increases in calls to crisis lines and children going to emergency departments, admissions to hospitals and so on. ” .

However, Bowden noted that the practice began decades ago and is found in many developed countries.

“It’s always very, very difficult when we look at mental health in terms of trying to isolate what is causing the most important issues for a person. It is very complicated.

“As a psychiatrist we always think of you in different fields, biological, scientific, social, cultural influences on mental health and well-being. So already there you can see the complex. ”

Notes and methods:

  • Health Plan Insurance data based on a list of mental health services provided by the Australian School of Public Health and removed from the MBS website.

  • Suicide data has been removed from recent reports by a Victorian and NSW Health correspondent

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